It started out as a story with a happy ending.
Corinne Galante of Lynnfield was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998. Her son, Steve Galante of Wakefield, stood by her side and watched her beat the disease and stay cancer free for the next decade.
Or so they thought.
Ten years later, in 2008, the Galantes learned Corinne's cancer had returned and spread throughout her body. She was immediately placed under the care of the doctors at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Steve Galante, her only child, was right back by her side.
Wishing he could do more to help her, Galante decided to start riding in the Pan Massachusetts Challenge bike ride, one of the largest athletic fundraising events for cancer in the entire country.
He participated in his first PMC in 2009, and has since personally raised more than $19,000 for the cause.
Every year, his mother met him at the end of the race, and they crossed the finish line together. Except 2011 would be her last race.
"The steps she took with me to finish the PMC would end up being some of the last she ever took," Galante said. "She was soon placed in hospice care and things changed quickly."
Corinne Galante passed away from cancer in September of 2011, making the 2012 race this weekend the first year Galante will be participating with her only his his memory.
"She was just the most friendly, giving person you would ever know," Galante said about his mother. "When she had just finished her own chemotherapy, she decided to volunteer at the North Shore Cancer Center in Peabody in order to help to the people who needed it and repay those who had helped her."
Galante feels so strongly about raising money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute that he has vowed to participate every year, both to honor his mother's memory and continue to raise money to further cancer research. He said his two young children have already participated in kids PMC events, and his wife also does cancer research fundraising.
"My mom was proof that the money these events generates goes to the right place, and she was able to extend her life," he said. "When she was rediagnosed ten years later, she benefitted from treatment that didn't even exist ten years prior," he said.
The 2011 race raised $35 million dollars, 100 percent of which was donated directly to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
"Even if my leg falls off, I'm still going to do it every year -- or I'll do it with my hands if I have to," he said.
Galante will ride from Wellesley to Bourne and back this weekend, August 4-5th, 2012. To donate to Steve's team visit this link: www.pmc.org/profile/SG0170.